Friday, September 28, 2007

Golf Weekend

I enjoyed watching the Presidents' Cup last night (DVR -- what a wonderful invention!). The Americans finally looked formidable again as a team. They lead 5-1/2 to 1/2 after the 1st day.

I wax nostalgic as I watch Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player captain the two teams. Two great competitors in their day. And yet in the midst of their competitiveness, there is such grace and sportsmanship.

Tomorrow is our church's annual golf tournament. We have had it in the spring in years past. We thought we might get more involvement if we moved it to the fall. WRONG! We have about 25 fewer players than we did last time. Oh well. Maybe we'll move back to spring next year.

It will be a beautiful day. Good food. Good fellowship. And all in a beautiful setting.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's a Joke, OK?

There are people in Texas who think I am wishy-washy when it comes to football because I root for both Texas and Texas A&M. Fact is: I just want Texas teams to shine on the national level, so I root for both. However, I don't bleed burnt orange or maroon.

Having said that, someone sent me an email that I thought was hilarious. Those of you who DO bleed burnt orange may fail to see the humor. Don't take offense. Just laugh, because some of these one-liners are funny. Here it is:

Longhorn football

It's been almost one (1) week without an arrest of a Longhorn football player! Good Job Mack - way to keep those boys in line!!!

(Note: for those of you that don't know, Austin's Pride has produced, within the last month, four (4) boys- w/ mug shots and prints. Two for armed robbery (w/ firearms), one for auto burglary & DUI and another for DUI. )

1. What do you call a drug ring in Austin?

A huddle.

2. Four UT Longhorns in a car, who's driving?

The police.

3. The UT Longhorns have adopted a new "Honor System".

Yes your Honor, No your Honor.

4. The UT Longhorns knew they had to do something for their defense, so they hired a new defensive coordinator:

F. Lee Bailey.

5. How do the UT Longhorns spend their first week at fall practice?

Studying their Miranda Rights.

6. What do you say to a Longhorn in a suit?

Will the defendant please rise?

7. If you see Longhorn football player on a bike, why don't you swerve to hit him?

It might be your bike!

8. The Longhorns employ scouts. But to look out for cops, not to scout high school kids.

9. I heard a rumor that the Texas Department of Corrections plans to build a new prison in Austin, Texas in order to allow Longhorns to walk to school.

10. What do you call it, when a Longhorn goes on vacation?

Time off for good behavior.

11. Why couldn't the Longhorn get into a huddle on the football field?

It's a parole violation to associate with known felons.

12. Obviously Coach Mack Brown is not paying his players if they have to resort to robbing people.

13. Book 'em, Horns!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I Wish I'd Had a Camera

This time of year is strange because of daylight savings time. I had a 7 AM meeting this morning, so I left the house and it was still dark. I realize that for many of you, you always leave the house for work in the dark. But my point is it's not supposed to be dark at 7 AM.

There was a blessing involved in that. As I made the turn off of College onto Hale and began to head west, the moon was sitting up over the horizon. It was BIG, and it was beautiful!

Last night I was elected to the position of president of W.A.R.M. I think it may have been more of a matter of no one else really wanting it. But I want so much to do a good job and use my time well. It is a wonderful ministry. My prayer is that God will continue to bless us to be able to meet the needs of people here in Wise County.

Being a part of WARM has caused me to appreciate so much more the trust that George Mueller had as he opened an orphanage in Bristol, England back in the 1800s. He never solicited funds, but always trusted the Lord to provide. And God was faithful to him. Many thousands of orphans were cared for as a result of Mueller's faith in Jehovah-Jireh.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Update on "Give 60!"

Three weeks ago, I challenged our congregation to "Give 60!" Broken down, it simply means to volunteer 60 minutes a week outside our church building. We are challenging the church to kick ourselves out of old rut habits and to view our world through the eyes of Jesus. Be His hands and feet. We offered some suggestions, but really are encouraging each member to use his / her imagination.

The response has been exciting. Kids are mowing lawns for elderly people. Mothers and daughters are reading to an 18-year-old girl who is in a partial coma in a local nursing home. A business leader is beginning a Bible study with anyone in his company who is interested. An elderly member is making lap quilts to take to local nursing homes.

I mentioned the possibility of getting involved in World Bible School on Sunday, and will check into that this week. I expect a number of people to become involved in that good work.

These are just a few things I am aware of. I know there is a lot more going on. But I am so proud that my precious church family is taking the challenge to heart.

Let's give 60!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Who Wants to be a Billionaire?

Forbes magazine released its list of 400 richest Americans yesterday. To even make the list now, you must be a billionaire. It was not many years ago (seriously, I'm not kidding) when Ross Perot topped the list at about 3.5 billion. I'm thinking maybe the mid-90's.

Well, I looked over the list several times and have not yet found anyone in whose will I am going to be listed as an heir. I think I will spend some time this weekend tracing family roots. Who knows?

Topping the list is Bill Gates. He is currently worth $59 billion dollars. This means that if he invested his money at only 5% interest, he would earn $295 million a year. I know what you're thinking. Investing at only 5% would not be wise. After all, it would be hard to live on $24.5 million -- A MONTH! Can't you hear the conversations in that home? "Honey, we need to watch our spending this week. It's a 31-day month, and we had a big utility bill. So we only have $5 million to make it til Thursday."

I can't even relate to it. Hmm. Come to think of it, Joel Olsteen is sounding better all the time:)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

O. J. and The Tank

I've been out of town for a day and a half, so these are old news. But I can't let them go:

1. Tank Johnson? Is Jerry Jones trying to remake the Cowboys into the image of the Oakland Raiders. I know Al Davis is one of Jones' heroes. Maybe he ought to consider Davis' record since he became known for signing league trouble-makers.

As a lifelong Cowboy fan, I am just embarrassed. I know what you are thinking -- that there have always been "characters" on the Cowboys. Maybe it's different because they BECAME characters here. Many of them were cut or shipped off to take their trouble elsewhere. Mr. Tank and T. O. are guys who were proven team-wreckers in other places. And Jerry went out shopping for them. I'm wondering if he isn't working behind the scenes right now to see if he can sign Michael Vick.

2. Then there is an ex-NFL star who, if he wasn't so old, would be at the top of Jones' list. After all, running back is still a pretty big question mark for the team. I'm talking about O. J. He would fit right in with Tank, wouldn't he?

When is America going to say enough is enough with this guy? He thinks that because he could carry a leather ball that he is above the law.

I heard where he lawyer said (while he was still in jail) if he was anyone other than O. J., he would be out on the street. I would counter that if he was anyone other than O. J., he would have been found guilty of a double murder over a decade ago and would still be in the pen.

I'll try to rediscover me compassionate side by tomorrow. These sports premadonnas, as my oldest son says, "Just chip my hide."

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Abilene, Abilene -- Prettiest Town I've Ever Seen

Today Beverly and I will travel to Abilene. Last year ACU moved their lectureship from February to September. Wise move! It seems like there was always an ice storm or snow during lectureship week. That will be doubtful in September. So we are going out for today and tomorrow -- and be back tomorrow night in time to teach classes.

We are going to hear Josh (our oldest son) speak tomorrow morning. While we are there, we will take in a few other lectures as well.

I used to go to ACU's lectureship years ago. I stopped because it seemed that our universities' lectureships got stale (other than Pepperdine, which I have never been able to go to, but they always seem to have a great program.) But under the leadership of Mark Love, they have had a really good program the last couple of years. I am going to make this a regular on my calendar again next year.

I love Abilene (and ACU). It's where I got my education. It's where I met my wife. And even though I grew up in church, I feel that it is where I came to know Jesus. It's where Beverly and I began our marriage. And it's where two of our wonderful kids were born. I have so many fond memories, and so many people who are dear to me.

So, I look forward to our 24 hours there.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sports Monday

Yesterday Tiger Woods won the Tournament Players' Championship and the 1st FedEx Cup. Is anyone surprised? He won by 8 strokes, and looked like it was nothing more than a Sunday afternoon stroll through the park.

Being a golf fan, I told Beverly Saturday that I am glad to be living in the time I am. I was a kid when Jack Nicklaus dominated golf -- often by beating my childhood hero, Arnold Palmer. Up to this point, I would say Nicklaus was the greatest the game has ever seen. But no one has dominated the game like Tiger Woods. I am getting to watch history in the making. Right now, the man has no weakness in his game. Barring injury, he will shatter ALL records.

The Cowboys played yesterday and won. I didn't watch it, either. I was so caught up in the golf I pretty much forgot. This would shock anyone who knew me 30 years ago. I could tell you about every play in every game.

I followed with some interest the game between Southlake Carroll and the team from Florida. Carroll was ranked #1 prep school team in the nation, and the Florida school was ranked #2. Carroll lost.

I feel a little bit guilty, because I was pulling for the Florida team. Carroll has won for so long. Like Highland Park, there is something about money being able to buy success that doesn't sit well with me. My guilt springs from finding out that the new coach at Carroll is a member of the Keller Church of Christ.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Walmart. It's a store I have a love-hate relationship wtih. I love it for its convenience. I hate it because it's so busy. (That seems somewhat paradoxical, doesn't it?) I love it for the way everything you need is under one roof. I hate it for the way it has run out so many specialized businesses (another paradox).

This morning on Good Morning America, they were talking about the many things WalMart knows about America. Do you know what their #1 selling item is? Bananas. The average woman shopper wears a size 14 and her shoe size is 8-1/2.

I found this one interesting: The state that buys the most tea? Pennsylvania. Five times more than any other state! I thought for sure it would be a southern state.

So, how do you feel about WalMart?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

All Other Ground is Sinking Sand

It's funny how a tune can get in your head and just stay there. A few weeks ago, I had the MASH theme song in my head for several days. Oh, no. Just writing this has put it there again.

This morning I have found myself hearing the words to an old hymn. The words that keep going through my head are "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." The more I think about it, the more I realize -- that sums it up! We get caught up in arguing this point of doctrine or that. But it all boils down to this: If my HOPE is placed in anything other than the atoning blood of Jesus and His righteousness that has been credited to me -- then, as the song says, all other ground is sinking sand.

Any songs you find constantly replaying in your head?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Lessons of 9-11

The images are still so clearly burned into my mind. People jumping from windows. The buildings collapsing. The plane actually hitting the second of the Twin Towers. People running down the streets as a huge cloud of dust and debris chased them.

Three thousand people! That's half the people in Decatur. Each one a person who was loved and who loved. Their absence has interrupted the flow of a family.

So what are we learning from the events of five years ago today? I know my 1st reaction was RETALIATE. Hit them harder than they hit us. I remember hearing one woman say (and I'm sure it was the feeling of millions of others), 'Let's just nuke all those Arabs." Looking back, I don't think my reaction was the most Christlike I could have had. But we were left feeling so helpless.

This morning, I found myself praying for Osama Bin Laden. He and his cohorts desperately need Jesus. How sad it must be to believe in a god who would delight in terrorism and murder. If that were the only option on the table, I would choose to be an atheist. But it's not. And even though Christians through the ages have done some pretty ungodly things, too -- it's not because we have been reflecting the nature of our Father or our Savior.

My prayer this morning (and many mornings) has also been that Islam will just implode upon itself. That it will just cease to be. Not because we have out-killed them or out-weaponed them. But because it is seen for what it is. And because Jesus is seen for Who He is.

So five years removed from that day, that is what I have learned. I never want to be desensitized to 9-11. May we never forget it. But may we learn to be Christ to the world in the way we Christians respond.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Give 60!

Yesterday's time together with the Body was incredible! Jacob and I issued a challenge for every member to give 60 minutes -- one hour a week -- in service to the Lord outside of church. Jacob offered several suggestions of ways to serve.

I loved hearing the "buzz" after church. I walked by a group of boys, and one of them said, "I already know what I'm going to do. We have some neighbors -- and the man is on oxygen. I'm going to mow his yard." I had to wipe away a tear.

But it wasn't just the young people. I heard adults discussing ideas for ways they could serve. It was really cool.

Remember: It doesn't have to be something that is "organized." Nor does it have to be anything elaborate. Make some cookies for your neighbors and deliver them. Visit a nursing home.

I would love to introduce "World Bible School" to our church. It is a work overseen by the Westover Hills Church of Christ in Austin. Ads are placed in papers all over the world for bible correspondence courses. The students mail the courses back to be graded, etc. It is very easy to do. You grade their paper, send them the next course and perhaps write them a note of encouragement. Anyone of any age could do it. No telling how many souls have been brought to Jesus through this effort.

I don't know if it's just me, but did that Cowboy game last night excite anybody about their coming season? We had no problem scoring -- but it was the Giants, after all. But what's with the touted Wade Phillip's defense? Maybe he needs more time. I'm not bashing Wade. I like him so much more than Parcells.

Tiger continues to amaze me. Yesterday his ballstriking was close to flawless as he cruised to his 6th victory of the season. I am hoping he can win next week and take the FedEx Cup. I'm concerned about his retirement. He needs the $10 million deferred prize money.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Ready for the Weekend

It's Friday. I have been looking forward to the weekend. And it's all around eating (isn't that weird?)

Tonight some friends are taking us to Del Frisco's. Dude! That place is good. We've only been there once -- when Beverly was given a gift certificate for speaking at a church. I can't wait!

Then tomorrow, we will go to Sam's for our quarterly "stock up on the necessities" trip. While in Southlake, we will go to Anamea's Mexican Restaurant -- on another gift certificate given to us by some other friends (Life is tough).

So I look forward to the good food. But I am also reminded today what special friends we have.

I might even try to catch some college football tomorrow. However, the chase for the Fedex Cup has gotten my interest, too.

Then on Sunday, Jacob and I will issue a challenge to our church. Our theme: "Give 60!" I am excited about the possibilities and look forward to the way the Lord might stimulate us to serve our community.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Gearing Up for Fall

Can you feel it? I asked CAN YOU FEEL IT?

Fall is near. Next week, we are going to have lows perhaps in the upper 50s. Yeah, buddy!

You know by now that Fall is my favorite season. Fall is also when the Ross household gets REALLY busy. This is the beginning of womens' retreat season. So, Beverly will be gone for several weekends over the coming months.

I have mixed feelings about that. Obviously I miss her and just hanging out and doing things with her. But she is SO gifted at what she does. And she brings women closer to the heartbeat of God. For that, I am so proud.

So my advice is: Go get 'em, girl.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bury This Blog

Yesterday Jacob (my ministry partner) and I went to a funeral over in the old part of Dallas. It is a pretty cemetery that sits among beautiful live oaks.

As we were leaving, I asked him what he thought about cremation. I don't mean to get morbid on you, but I have thought some about it. For one reason (and those of you who know me will understand this): It's cheaper than a burial.

Obviously if the Lord doesn't return for a while, all of us are going to end up being ashes anyway. So why do we have a hangup with cremation? I'm not sure, but for some reason I do. From a theological standpoint, I don't think there is anything wrong with it. My guess is that I am just so culturally conditioned a certain way -- it just doesn't sit well with me.

So, any thoughts?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Home Improvement

I was enjoying the Tiger-Phil showdown yesterday. And then a storm came. My satellite scrambled. So I had to check ESPN later to see how it ended. Oh, well. Congrats to Phil. He seems like a good guy.

We have had a spot appear on our kitchen ceiling. It gets worse whenever we have company stay upstairs. So, I had a plumber come out, and he cut a hole in the sheetrock in our attic and began his search. He couldn't find it. I told him it seemed to only happen when company had taken a bath. We found some missing grout in a corner, and he got to where he could see inside the wall. I splashed water over into that corner -- and sure enough, that was the culprit. So I regrouted the bad spots yesterday afternoon.

Now comes the hard part: Patching the sheetrock and matching it to the rest of the kitchen ceiling. I have done some sheetrock work in the past, but I don't trust my ability to be able to blend the textures. So, I guess I will have someone come out to do that.

I'm sure there is a great spiritual application waiting. You know, how just a little bitty leak can ruin a ceiling.